The Perfect Cazorla Wife(10)

By: Michelle Smart

‘You will be by my side to assist me. Think of it as a learning curve. Four months to learn how to run a business properly rather than rely upon guesswork. After all,’ he continued, ‘it won’t be my bank balance that suffers if you fail but the children and families you’ve made promises to.’

More angry colour flooded her cheeks. Her green eyes darkened, her fury as easy to read as a book.

He refused to feel any sympathy.

Charley loved children. He’d seen that from the first. They’d discussed starting a family of their own and he’d shown great patience in her request that they wait a few years so she could make something of herself first.

He’d lavished her with everything she desired.

In return she’d denied him what he desired: the baby she’d promised.

Together they would have created the perfect family.

He’d imagined their unborn child a thousand times, imagined how different a parent he would be from his own father. Not for his child the feeling of being worthless. His children’s achievements would be celebrated, their failures whether minor or major understood and forgiven, their opinions valued. He would have shown his father what being a father was really about. It was everything his father hadn’t been.

‘Take control of the project if you must,’ Charley said, a tremor racing through her voice. ‘Be the big alpha man you are and throw your weight and money around as you always do. So long as the centre reopens in four months’ time I don’t care how it’s done, but there is no need to go through a charade of us being back together.’

He clenched his hands into fists, straining not to react to her inflammatory words. Taking control of situations where he was the most suitable person to take charge was not akin to throwing his weight around. She made him sound like a tyrant, which, he was certain, was deliberate. His wife might be uneducated but she was not stupid. Regardless, he would keep his cool even if she couldn’t.

‘I fail to see what your issue is,’ he said, channelling his composure. ‘You were happy to tell your bank manager the barefaced lie that we’re back together when it suited you. This arrangement suits me but in this case it will not be a lie. For four months you will live with me as my wife and then you will be free to resume your life. But this time our marriage will end on my terms.’

Already he could taste the satisfaction that would bring. It might even taste as sweet as having his wife back in his bed.

The wildness he’d sensed in her from that first look had translated into the bedroom. Making love to her had always been out of this world. Whether it was hard and fast or slow and sweet, their passion for each other had been unquantifiable.

‘This is your pride talking, isn’t it? Because I had the nerve to leave you? You want to humiliate me?’

‘Not at all,’ he answered with deliberate smoothness, counteracting the vibrations emanating from her delectable frame. A charge flickered through his loins to see her face become the same colour it rose to when in the throes of passion. ‘You want my help and I’m prepared to give it to you but in return I want payment—and the only form of payment you are in a position to make is with your body.’

She pushed her chair back as if she’d been scalded and got to her feet. ‘You want me to prostitute myself?’

‘I’m merely requesting that you, my wife, return to the marital bed for a fixed period and in that period you make yourself available to me wherever and whenever I require.’

The charge in his loins tightened at the thought of her doing whatever pleased him. All those years when he’d done everything in his power to please her, in bed and the tables had turned and it was her subjugation he required. For a limited time.

Yes, four months should serve him perfectly. During their marriage they’d spent a substantial amount of time apart, the distance always stoking the flames of lust so when they were together they made the most of every minute. This time, he would keep her by his side continuously so the lust they shared would finally be slaked and he could walk away from her without a backwards glance. Just as she had walked away from him.

Charley’s legs felt wobbly. Everything felt wobbly. She hadn’t touched a morsel of food, knew she wouldn’t be able to swallow it past her throat.

‘In all the years I’ve known you, I’ve never hated you.’ Her body trembling, she forced her eyes to keep their gaze on his cool, unflinching stare. ‘I hate you right now, more than I thought it was possible to hate another human being.’

He rose and, although he smiled down at her, his eyes were like ice. ‘I don’t care for your hate any more than I care for your love.’ He reached out a hand and slipped it under the open top buttons of her blouse to rest on her collarbone.

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